Blades: Clough looks for right calibre

Billy Clarke who has been monitored by Sheffield United
Billy Clarke who has been monitored by Sheffield United
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Nigel Clough has told those players hoping to join his Sheffield United revolution that attitude as well as ability will decide whether they are offered moves to Bramall Lane.

Clough, who has made a new centre-forward his top priority during the forthcoming transfer window, issued the pledge after revealing that nothing will be allowed to jeopardise the team spirit which helped propel the League One club into the FA Cup semi-finals last term.

“It’s not just what they are capable of doing on the pitch,” Clough, who has tabled an offer for Livingston’s Marc McNulty, said.

“It’s what they are like off it, what type of characters they are, as well.”

“That’s key and something we always take into account,” the United manager added. “That won’t change.”

United were 21st in the table when Clough was appointed seven months ago. Having allowed several high-profile names to depart on loan, the former England international eventually guided them to a seventh placed finish with the likes of Ryan Flynn and Jamie Murphy all testifying to the cameraderie which now exists behind the scenes.

McNulty and Southampton’s Billy Sharp are known to feature on what Clough has described as “a long list” of targets as United, who averaged 1.04 goals per game during the 2013/14 campaign, look to increase the attacking threat at their disposal.

Connor Sammon of Derby County and Crawley Town’s Billy Clarke were also monitored during the last window.

However Clough has insisted that he must “be sure” all would-be acquisitions “are made of the right stuff” before he decides whether to proceed.

That policy explains why the 48-year-old has preferred to recruit professionals he has worked with previously when entering the loan market.

“We’re fortunate to have a really good group here now,” Clough said.

“Players who are ready to work hard and do whatever it takes to try and achieve something. Anyone who comes in must have the same approach.”